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message 1: by Louise (new)

Louise | 4 comments A small seasonal offering:

Mama Can I Come In?

“Mama, can I come in?” Sammie’s voice piped through the bathroom door.

“I’ve told you again and again, sometimes Mama needs to be private, so no, you cannot come in.”

“Well, but Mama, can we talk about the party tonight? Allen told me that they’d have ghosts and witches and stuff at his house and we can watch.” A shadow moved back and forth across the bottom of the doorway as he paced in his excitement.

“Yes, Sammie, we’ll talk. Can it wait until I am done here?”

“Okay, Mama, but I really want to be early, ‘cause Allen says he has a good place to hide so we can watch what happens when everybody gets scared. He says that’s the best part.”

“I know, Sammie,” she choked, tears running down her face. “I know you want to go, but just this once, can you stay home with me and talk?”

“Oh but Mama, Allen and his mom will be here soon and I have to go with them!” Sammie sounded panicky like he sounded every time she appeared to withdraw her permission.

Annie rose from the closed toilet seat, flushed for Sammie’s benefit, and rinsed her tears away. She glanced at her worn face in the mirror as she turned out the light and opened the door. Her graying hair stuck out in unruly curls and her robe hung at an odd angle, as, with Sammie’s voice brightly describing a night of horror and fun, she walked down the hall alone.

message 2: by Jen (new)

Jen | 28 comments So far I think this is good. The one question I have is about what age is Sammie? I believe he is young like 10, but I'm just making sure because he is going to a party...? Overall though I think it was good with description of everything else :)

message 3: by Louise (new)

Louise | 4 comments My feeling has always been that Sammie is 7 or 8. I think that is what adds guilt to Mama. He was too young.

message 4: by Jen (new)

Jen | 28 comments okay cool :)

message 5: by Louise (new)

Louise | 4 comments Here's a short story I'm still working on. Please let me know what you think.

Louise Partain Wordcount: 6,800

A Little Brown Story
By Louise Partain

She was short, plump, with shiny brown eyes and brown hair still wavy though silvering with time. Gloves covered her hands as she worked in the dirt of her still sleeping garden, tilling the ground in preparation for spring magic. She gathered some bulbs from the cart beside her and placed them in the ground with exactness and covered them with earth and good wishes for speedy growth. He watched from the side gate of the garden as she talked to her plants, telling them of the loving earth in which they could grow, the spring rains that would shortly take away winter's chill, and the warm sun that awaited them when they made their sleepy way into the air above. When she rose, pulled off her gloves, and carefully brushed the crumbs of dirt from her jeans and sweater as she headed for the back door of the cottage, he admired her light step and the straight lines of her neck and back, regal even now. She paused to stomp her gardening shoes on the mat and turned toward him with a smile bringing the kissing dimples to her mouth and cheeks. "Gene, how very long it has been! Her velvety voice wound round him in the same way it wound her spell around her flowers. "Please come in and spend some time with me."
"And you wish, so shall it be," he answered as he always had. "I come now as I have in the past and though I will need your answer to me, I would prefer to prolong this time in your presence." Gwynn Chenoweth glanced at her guest as he stood before her, cap in hand. There was little to mark his age passing except for smile crinkles at his eyes and deep ridges where dimples had gouged when he was merry. The ridges moved when he talked, the dimples now a permanent part of his facial movement and no longer glimmering in and out with amusement. Green eyes rimmed in black carried all the present and the past shades of the hills and dales of the Cornish countryside and beyond. Black hair shot with silver waved around the collar of the tanned sheepskin jacket he wore over a black tee, jeans and walking boots. He still stood tall, straight, and slim as sin and her pulse leaped at the way he hungrily scanned her face. She opened the door and gestured him through into her small kitchen.
Gene sighed with relief. So many years of sitting in her garden, never invited in, never allowed to bask in her presence in her home, her most intimate setting. So much time wasted, dreams broken, banished to the moon. He closed his eyes as she moved in to place the kettle on for tea and relished the smells of her domestic habitat. "What shall I do with my boots? I fear tracking the dales across your floors." They both glanced down at his dirt encrusted boots and laughed.
"There's a boot scrape to your right, Gwynn said merrily, and my kitchen can suffer your dirt. After all, it suffers mine." As she turned back to moving ginger biscuits onto a lovely flowered plate, Gene scraped his boots turning his head to watch her every move, drinking in the gracefully efficient moves of her hands as she prepared the tea tray. He stepped across the grey slate floors to a small table framed by the kitchen window and looked out across the hills and dales that stretched into the town of Bodmin.
"Are they at it again this year?" he asked idly.
"Oh yes," she replied as she carried the laden tray to the table and setting it down wiped her hands on her apron and stared down to Bodmin with a grimace. "The planning is already in place. ‘Three Wishes’ brings out all of the most eccentrics. But a small few still bring gifts in the old way. Amazing that collective memory has survived in this age of instant information. Perhaps the internet has become a repository for our memory. Chilling thought, to have no need to remember, or to find others remember so differently. A little like the old game of passing on secrets taken to a higher degree than we imagined when we were young."
As she sat and poured the tea, adding only a wedge of lemon as he preferred and a single ginger biscuit, his attention focused on her alone, searching, scanning, seeking to read her heart since her mind was veiled to him. "Oh, my darling, my own dear heart," he thought, "How do I speak the words again, when this is my last time to come? If you reject me now, I will spend all my life alone and cursed without your touch." Something moved in her face, as though she had allowed herself to read his thoughts. She said nothing since she knew the question must be asked at some point.
Gwynn heard Gene's thoughts as she sipped her tea. Something in the abject starkness of his despair touched a part of her that through the long, long years she thought had died or grown numb. "All these years," she thought. "All these long and lonely years I have showered my gardens with love. And the beauty they gave back was lovely, but so very frail and so quickly fading." She looked up to see Gene's gaze intent on her; startled, she suddenly knew he could hear her. How had they arrived here? How far away it all seemed -- the beginning of their story. Just a handful of memories over such a long time, eons it seemed.
She dropped her eyes to the flowers swirling about on the inside of her tea cup. It was always just before spring that Gene had come to her. It began when she was sixteen, budding into life. He stepped onto the garden path several paces from her as she walked about noting signs of life's resurrection power. She felt the awakening of the plants and the life juices sluggishly stirring after winter's cold sleep. Her feet tingled as seeds and bulbs sprouted below the ground struggling toward the weak warmth of the sun. She looked up and there he was, magnificently male, tall and well made, dark of hair with emerald eyes set in sooty lashes. His name had popped into her mind from some country dances of the previous year and she greeted him by name, inviting him to sit in her garden.
He looked on the maid Gwynn had become and his heart pounded strangely in his chest. He was surprised that anything or anyone could so stir him. He had been told by so many that he was heartless. Yet here was Gwynn, short, plump, pleasing and brown -- not a beauty, not sophisticated, not even elegantly dressed. She was just Gwynn, but such a Gwynn -- at the height of her youthful powers, spring in her fingertips, summer blooming in her face, life-force seeping from her breath making him breathless. He sat carefully next to her and looked down on a strange sight in such a well-cared-for garden.
A single dandelyon had dared to invade her space and had already shed many of its milky pods across the fields outside of the garden. Only a few remained. He picked it carefully from the roots, first removing the remaining seed pods and wrapping them in a handkerchief.
Gwynn realized they both were in this remembrance when his heart gave a thud and she felt her heart respond. That was the first time he had asked anything of her. He had fixed an intense green stare on her -- and she had noticed that emerald of his eyes shifted like the colors as clouds rolled in shadows across the hill and dale. He took her hands in his own large, well-formed ones and placed one of the seed pods in the palm of her left hand, closing her fingers on it and lifting her hand to his lips to kiss each of the small closed fingers, moving up to her wrist to inhale as though she were a fragrant blossom and place his moist open mouth on her pulse-point. He raised heavily lidded eyes to her and asked in the voice of her hidden dreams, "Wilt thou grant the wish I now make to have thee as my bride, to love and cherish throughout all time?"
As she opened her fingers to grasp his hands, a stiff breeze from the North blew across her palm, catching the feathery strands of the seed, sending it dancing on the wind far from her garden. A sigh of disappointment slipped from both their hearts as their hands slipped away from each other until Gene stood beyond her garden gate, eyes still on hers. "I will return for thee," his whisper carried on the breeze as he closed his eyes and turned to walk away following the winding path of the seed across the dales and up into the hills. She held her hand above her eyes as she watched him climb, never looking back.
"That first time, so long ago, did you guess how it would be?" she asked with an echo of the vivid ache from her memory.
"Aye, I knew this would be long courting, when the North Wind won the first round," he said as he sipped his tea slowly and gazed on her beloved face, viewing the tracks the years had left on her small and perfect face.
"Why was it always me? Surely there were others to tempt your heart. You were and are so magnificent And I am so small, so brown, so well guarded, and so artless in the skills of moving forward, so rooted in the earth from whence I came," she shook her head and the curls still bounced around her face. She took another sip from her cup and realized that it and the kitchen had grown cold while they sat and thought over that first time.
Gene stood and came around the table to stand beside her chair. "My heart has always dwelt in your keeping Gwynn, so there was nothing to be tempted. My love, now that you have invited me into your home, may I request a kiss? I have so had so few memories to ponder in my wanderings and your kisses have been the best of them. But it has been so long since I tasted you."

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